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AAFA, trade bodies urge USTR to support CBTPA renewal

Sep '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) along with a dozen other trade bodies recently urged US trade representative Robert E Lighthizer to support Congress to renew the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) as soon as possible. The act, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on May 18 this year, is set to expire on September 30.

Since its inception in 2000, CBTPA has become an important element of the effort to develop and facilitate trade within the Caribbean Basin region, most notably with Haiti. Overall, CBTPA is structured in a fashion that reasonably balances the interests of US textile manufacturers with those of textile and apparel manufacturers in the region, the organisations said in their letter to Lighthizer.

CBTPA requires the use of US or CBTPA-regional yarns and fabrics, which implies Haiti, as the main country still participating in the CBTPA, has become an important export market for US textiles.

Along with the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, and the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act, the CBTPA now increases US exports to strategic allies in the Caribbean Basin, the letter said.

Not only have these programs supported numerous US textile, apparel, and footwear jobs, but they have also supported economic development in the region, advancing key US foreign, security, and immigration policy goals, it said.

Specifically, the CBTPA continues to play a direct and critical role in advancing the industry partnership that currently exists between the United States and Haiti. In 2019, cent per cent (by volume) of apparel that was imported into the United States under the CBTPA was imported from Haiti.

And US apparel imports from Haiti continue to grow. In fact, the total US garment imports from Haiti grew by 13.4 per cent in 2019.

The benefits of this Act are now threatened because of questions surrounding the renewal of the CBTPA. These concerns come on top of the considerable pain, costs and uncertainty the industry is already trying to manage as a result of COVID-19 and the accompanying economic crisis, the letter said.

Signatories of the letter include the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America, the National Retail Federation, the Outdoor Industry Association, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the Travel Goods Association and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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